Around the world our LFC International Academies provide young players with an opportunity to develop, learning new techniques and skills, all under the guidance of our coaching staff.
We offer something different and something unique by developing players both on and off the pitch, educating them through experiences that will shape their progression into young adults and giving them skills that can be used throughout their lives.
Our overall aims are to bring LFC to our young fans around the world and to demonstrate just how special our football club is.
Wherever you are lucky enough to attend a LFC coaching program we hope you have fun and enjoy learning how to play ‘The Liverpool Way’.
Jürgen Klopp, Manager
Sophia Lamitola of the 2006 Girls has been selected as the Liverpool FC IA – St. Louis Player of the Month for November. Lamitola, a fullback and goalkeeper for the 06 girls, was selected for the award for outstanding play and her display of the Liverpool Football Club values; ambition, dignity, commitment, and unity.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach Sophia for several years, and seeing her develop into a formidable, skilled player has to be one of my most rewarding experiences as a coach. She has been a leader by example, selflessly playing where her team needed her the most. She has displayed our core values through hard work in the offseason, her dedicated work ethic in training sessions, and fully embracing the opportunity to play a difficult position when team injuries demanded it,” said Kory Kunze, the 2006 Girls Head Coach.
The 2006 Girls faced early challenges in their 2019 fall season, with key players getting injured, including the team’s starting goalkeeper. One of the team’s starting fullbacks, Lamitola, without hesitation, volunteered to serve as the team’s keeper through the majority of the season. “I certainly missed having her on the field for her strong defense and good distribution skills, but she had both our team’s confidence and my confidence she would get the job done in the net, and she really did. She kept us in every game,” said Kunze. “A lot of our existing and new players had to step into new positions, and they all rose to the occasion. Sophia was one of the leaders in that effort, putting her team first.”
During the summer, Sophia could be found running the streets in her home town, preparing for the season. It was that kind of commitment that lead to her first starting role as fullback in her 2017 LFC season, and eventually landed her multiple captain selections in her 2019 fall season. Coach Kunze says Sophia’s soccer evolution has been a joy to watch. “Going back to her early years, all the way back to around 3rd grade, she would hold her own but wasn’t seen as one of the strongest players. That didn’t deter her at all. I think she has a determination to prove people wrong, she has a silent confidence that she can be the best.” All the way back then and through today she has kept at it, rarely missing any training sessions or development opportunities, giving maximum effort. She started to display speed and athleticism, but sometimes would be timid in tackling, and would not always finish an entire play. It was a challenge for her coaches to figure out what position would give her the most success, so she was moved around a lot. Coach Kunze decided to try her at fullback. “It was like the entire game opened up for her. She began seeing the entire field. She began distributing the ball well. She began defending correctly. As she grew physically and her skills grew, she became more confident, more physical.”
In addition to her fullback role, Sophia was the 3rd string goalkeeper during her 2018 season. In 2019, she continued at fullback and served as the backup goalkeeper. Little did she know she would finish 2/3 of her fall season as the team’s primary goalkeeper.
It’s a cold November morning and the LFC IA St. Louis 2006 Girls are in a 1-1 dogfight against St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois – Premier 2006 Girls. Lamitola’s jersey is clean, but not from a lack of being on the ground. In addition to making a diving save in the first half, she has endured a period of pressure, warding off a shot bouncing off the crossbar straight down in front of the goal line. She has kept the opponent out of the net, the lone exception an awarded penalty shot inside the box, which she managed to almost deflect out of the goal. In the last 5 minutes, LFC fires a shot that deflects off a defender for the go-ahead goal. In the last minute, the opponent makes a final push and Lamitola is there to scoop up the ball, take her time, and punt it away in the final seconds of the match, securing the 2-1 victory. Coach Kunze says about Lamitola, “I’m very excited for Sophia to get this recognition. She shows ambition through her confidence and showing no fear under pressure. She displays dignity by the respect she has shown for coaches and the game. When I asked her to fill in as keeper, she nodded yes right away, didn’t act upset or slump her shoulders, it was clear she knew what she had to do for the team, and she didn’t hesitate. There is no doubt she is committed, looking at her frequency and effort in training, and the results it has produced. Most importantly, she is a great example of unity. This team really stuck together and was tight this season, Sophia was a great example of that.”
As one big LFC family we have a responsibility to provide young players around the world with access to the best environment and coaching possible, that's what we aim to achieve with our International Academies.
By following the same curriculum that we deliver to our players at the LFC Academy we can ensure that all participants get the very best football education from our coaching staff. I believe it's very important to develop a players' skills both on and off the pitch and our International Academies do just that.
I am extremely proud to be an ambassador of this fantastic program which continues to go from strength to strength. This role allows me to take LFC to our young fans across the world and show them just what it means to be part of the LFC family.
Ian Rush - LFC Legend & Soccer Schools Ambassador
Liverpool Football Club is recognized around the world as one of an elite group of clubs with a true worldwide reputation. We pride ourselves in creating the best environment for the development of young players, both as footballers and as people.
We have a very special philosophy which is well known by our players, staff and fans, is recognized all over the world and sets us aside from other football clubs. The characteristics of playing 'The Liverpool Way' were no more evident than during the 2005 Champions League final. Team spirit, hard work, determination and the ability to overcome any obstacles in life and above all play with dignity and fair play.... these are all the values and characteristics we look for in our players.
For the last 50 years the club has been at the forefront of British and European football, winning numerous championships and European club tournaments. During this time, there has been a consistent tradition of developing top class players, particularly from the Liverpool Academy; Steven Gerrard is the ultimate example of a home grown talent who ranks at the very top of the worldwide game.
"His dad and I are so happy to have found the Liverpool Football Club. As parents, one of our primary goals in having [our son] participate in soccer was to learn teamwork, responsibility, and sportsmanship, among other qualities. After observing the players, parents and coaches of other teams over the past few years, it is apparent that these are qualities that many SLYSA teams clearly lack. I am confident that the LFC Way makes a significant impact on our players for the good and we are grateful to have been associated with a club that is committed to teaching kids not only how to be good soccer players, but good people as well. "
"My son has been playing organized soccer for 4 years, but the growth he has shown over the last 7 months eclipses everything before. Aside from skill development, there is a clear interest in ensuring that the boys exhibit good sportsmanship and develop into responsible young men."
-2008 Boys Parent